Rasma Says

Musings, deliberations, flashes of unaccounted for brilliance…

Postscript: Embassy Escapade Encore

The news is alarming when it comes on the radio. Just a week after the one-year-anniversary of July 22nd, central Oslo is being evacuated, including the palace, the national theater train station and the area in a one-mile radius around the American embassy.

A bomb-like-object has been observed under a car near the embassy.

All public transportation is cancelled. Helicopters circling overhead. Armed police in riot gear: machine guns, helmets,  bullet-proof vests. But, what’s this…. the jewelry store directly across the street, in fact the closest neighbor to the embassy, has not been evacuated. Only when they ask one of the riot squad what is going on, are they told sure, close the store. Now everyone within a mile radius of the embassy is evacuated, sitting on the sidewalk, waiting for more information. Wondering if July 22 2011 is going to play out again in this most pacifist of world capitals.

At home in Bodø, our immediate thoughts go back to our recent trip to the embassy: is this someone’s computer? Was the 7-11 closed? I admit that in a desperate moment, I had thought of laying my mac airbook down on the sidewalk somewhere, in the bushes or a drain, in order to obtain entrance to the embassy and fulfill my errand of renewing passports.

It would not surprise me if it were a computer.

Journalists on the scene ask people what they know, but no one, not even the police, knows anything. No information is being given out. Then, after 2 hours, the police cordon tape is unwound. The item has been identified: a practice bomb that the embassy itself had placed under the car, and forgotten to remove.

Anyone else thinking of a similar scene in an old F-Troop episode?

My heart goes out to all those poor passport-renewing and visa-applying people who had appointments, dearly paid for in time, money and personal humiliation, who will have to reschedule and relive the experience of getting into the embassy all over again. On the other hand, the bomb threat only took two hours, about the same time waiting outside the embassy to get in takes?

After everyone returns to business as usual at the jewelry store, busses and trams, train station, and of course, the 7-11 convenience shop / security depot, it is discovered that about 20 people inside the visa/passport application waiting room never even left the building. The embassy personnel behind their glassed-in reception desks had just suddenly turned and ran, as if it were a maneuver they had drilled before, said one of the Norwegians who diligently stayed in her place in line. None of the applicants had been allowed to take their phones into the embassy, so they had no idea why the workers had fled. The lone guard in the room said it was a safe place to be. Safe from what? He didn’t know either.

The police are taking the little bomb escapade with a smile. We’re all human and mistakes can be made, says the spokesman. But the head of the city council Stian Berger Røsland says the embassy should apologize and make amends.

I think we’ll be waiting a long time for that announcement.


This entry was posted on 30/07/2012 by in Uncategorized and tagged .
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